Fallout of the Penguins acquiring Jason Zucker
1. Prior to finalizing a trade for Jason Zucker on Monday night, Pittsburgh’s pursuit of Zucker for months was setting up as being their only realistic play ahead of the deadline to land an impact winger. It was going to be Zucker or have to go the rental market for a Tyler Toffoli type.
There was nothing else in the woodwork nor anything likely to emerge that was out there to resemble a similar type of acquisition the Penguins feel they made last night in acquiring Jason Zucker — a long-term addition –. Sources say a similar offer would have been considered internally to make for Montreal’s M Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" a player I’ve learned in recent days they’ve liked for years and actually tried to trade Phil Kessel to Vegas in the summer of 2018 for Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
This led to the Penguins deciding at the end of the day to pay the price of including Calen Addison. Offering a first-round pick for Zucker was something in play for a while now, it was getting on board to include Addison that got Pittsburgh to the finish line.
2. 1st-time GM Bill Guerin was in a position of strength. There was good interest in Zucker around the league despite the financial commitment. Guerin could have slow played this to the summer and a number of suitors likely would have been hanging around. Zucker’s one of those players that coaches around the league value tremendously and there’s a reason Zucker’s a player that’s nearly been traded multiple times in the past year.
He was almost dealt to Calgary last year at the deadline, followed by Pittsburgh in May…Arizona then came close to acquiring Zucker around the draft and then Zucker quietly blocked a trade to Buffalo in July prior to Guerin being hired.
Prior to moving forward with the Pittsburgh deal, I’m told Guerin was in serious discussions on Zucker with Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Minnesota went from in May of acquiring Phil Kessel (who was never going to move the needle) for Zucker to coming out of dealing Zucker nine months later for futures and clearing a significant cap hit.
3. A member of an NHL front-office once told me a couple years ago the media and fans rarely articulate a player’s cap hit properly. That’s kind of the case here with Jason Zucker.
Zucker’s $5.5 million cap hit was a bad contract for the situation he was in with the Minnesota Wild. To compensate being worth that number, Zucker had to produce at a 30 goal, 60+ point pace, the type of numbers he put up in 2017-2018 that landed him the contract.
In Pittsburgh that’s not the case at all. He’s a luxury piece.
20-23 Goals, 45-48 points gives Pittsburgh enough value because Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
He’s a perfect fit for the Penguins style of play, especially their puck pursuit game, and the Penguins believe they’ve found another version of prime Pascal Dupuis to skate with Sidney Crosby, one source indicated last night.
Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" Others were so high on Addison’s upside they felt if Pittsburgh had another quick exit, you’d be comfortable having another Kris Letang discussion because of what was soon coming up (Addison).
5. The Penguins will take a little step back after the Zucker acquisition but the good news for the team is they still have cap room to continue to add at the deadline. They have the ability to take on a cap hit up to around $4 million.
The team isn’t high on the d-man market one bit, but could be forced to dive into the depth market if Brian DuMoulin’s next check up (early next week) comes up concerning, a Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"